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Report No. 262

B. International Trends on the Death Penalty

3.9.1 The status and use of the death penalty today suggests an unmistakable trend towards abolition. When the UN was formed in 1945, only seven countries in the world had abolished the death penalty.174 In contrast, as of 31 December 2014, 140 countries in the world had abolished the death penalty in law or practice.175

174 Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, A/HRC/10/44, 14 January 2009, at para 31, available at:
http://daccess-ddsny. un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/12/PDF/G0910312.pdf?OpenElement (last viewed on 5.08.2015).

175 See Annex II, Amnesty International, Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, Act 50/001/2015.

3.9.2 The UN Secretary General publishes a periodic report on the status of the death penalty globally; the latest of these reports surveyed the global situation between 2009 and 2013.176 In this period, the number of fully abolitionist states increased by six, and almost all retentionist countries reported reductions in the number of executions and the number of crimes subject to the death penalty. Amongst retentionist countries, only 32 carried out judicial executions. This report confirmed "the continuation of a very marked trend towards abolition and restriction of the use of capital punishment in most countries".177

176 Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, E/2015/49, 13 April 2015, available at
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/DeathPenalty/E-2015-49.pdf (last viewed on 5.08.2015).

177 Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, E/2015/49, 13 April 2015, at para 26, available at
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/DeathPenalty/E-2015-49.pdf (last viewed on 5.08.2015).

3.9.3 The trend is also evident from the signatories to the ICCPR's Second Optional Protocol, aiming at abolishing the death penalty, to which 81 states have signed or acceded.



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